Person A: “Have we considered getting on this Facebook thing? My niece was telling me about it and it seems like we need to be there!”
Person B: “No I don’t think we are…why would we join Facebook? Isn’t that just for the kids?”
Person A: “Apparently not! That might be the answer we’re looking for to increase the amount of youth we have in our church!”
Through my work with ARC, I have heard this conversation many times over. It’s hard to believe that Facebook was only introduced to this world about 10 years ago! Over the past decade the way we communicate and take in information has drastically changed. According to the statistics, likely more than half of your church is on Facebook already. With the increasing use of social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) more and more churches are making the leap into the social media landscape.
There are many churches that will jump into the social media landscape simply because “everyone else is there.” I’m reminded of something my mother always told me; “If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?” Many churches that enter the social media world post a couple of things, or events about their church and then ignore the platform for months to come. They are inconsistent. Joining the social media world simply for the sake of joining the social media world is more likely to be damaging to your church than helpful. If you’re there simply for the purpose of being there, what message are you sending to people who are potentially looking to visit/attend/engage with your church?
It’s pretty easy to spot a church that is using social media for the sake of “being there.” The majority of their posts will typically be about upcoming events that they are hosting and “come to our rocking church service tomorrow morning!” This is wonderful, except, it typically lacks purpose.
You can have the best social media strategy for your church, but it is utterly useless if you can’t articulate why you are there in the first place. What’s your purpose? Why did you decide to use this particular platform? What are you hoping to accomplish by being on this social media site? What does that success look like for your community? Are you hoping to bring more individuals into the church? Communicate events to current members?
Without knowing why you are there, your content will appear scattered and unfocussed. Without knowing why you are there, you’ll have no way of knowing or measuring your success on social media. It’s like driving around in a car without knowing your final destination. It can be lots of fun driving around with no set goal, but sooner or later, you’re going to run out of gas and be lost. If, however, you know where you are going, T-intersections aren’t a daunting decision to make, you can plan out your gas station and coffee stops along your route, and even know how much further you have to drive to reach that destination.
You can have the best possible social media strategy for your church, but it is utterly useless if you can’t articulate why you are there in the first place. What’s your purpose? Once you pinpoint your reason to be there, then you can start focussing on crafting messages that are going to move people to action. Rich Birch, from unseminary.com, has a wonderful 4-part framework to help you begin structuring that content.
So if you’re thinking about joining the social media space or are already on it, do you know why you’re there in the first place?